Andrew Parker

Ranking the Misery, America’s 25 Most Miserable States According to Data

Some states just really can’t catch a break, whether it’s the weather getting them down or issues in their economy. We’ve got 25 states that are some of the most miserable states across the USA. There’s plenty of charm out there, but these are the places where smiles are a bit harder to come by.

West Virginia

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Kicking things off, we’ve got West Virginia, which a WalletHub study found was the unhappiest state of all. It’s got some truly beautiful hiking trails, and nothing can take that away. But for the people, the real struggle is trying to get some sleep, and their work situation isn’t looking too bright either. 

Louisiana

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You can’t deny that Louisianans know how to throw a party. Their Mardi Gras celebrations are like nothing else around. Yet there are a few things that they’re not too keen to celebrate, like the safety problems and rising divorce rate. To make matters worse, many people down here are working long hours without a good paycheck to show for it.

Tennessee

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Tennessee’s home to some truly spectacular toe-tapping tunes and finger-licking BBQ. Unfortunately, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported around 43.5% of adults in the state are suffering from depression or anxiety. It’s not hard to see why. Seriously low wages and poor benefits mean that people can’t get any good jobs.

Arkansas

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Even with the great outdoors, many people in Arkansas are in a bit of a funk. The state’s residents are suffering from high depression rates, and they’re not doing too well with safety, either. A quick drive-through will show you the state has its fair share of deserted places that don’t look like they’re ever coming back.

Kentucky

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Most people associate Kentucky with its fast horses and smoothest bourbon. Sadly, even the finest drink can’t hide the issues going on here, like the lack of community connections and high depression rates. Add in the issues with the job market, and it’s pretty easy to see why this state is so miserable.

Alabama

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One thing’s for sure about Alabama, and that is there’s no shortage of football frenzy. You can practically taste their love for the sport during game day. But once the stadium lights go down, the sad reality sets in. People aren’t getting enough sleep which is affecting their emotional and physical health. 

Mississippi 

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Mississippi’s mighty river has nothing on the size of its people’s challenges, starting with the failure of the job market. Schools and clinics are doing their best with what they’ve got, but there’s a clear need for more pencils and stethoscopes. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done here.

Alaska

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As the US’s biggest state, you’d think there would be loads of job opportunities. Sadly, that’s just not the case. The daily grind has people counting pennies under the midnight sun while the northern lights aren’t exactly lighting up their lives. Living so far away from other people takes a serious toll on you, you know.

Oklahoma

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Out in Oklahoma, the horizon stretches far and wide, but the promise of fortunes seems like it’s just beyond reach. The oil and gas jobs industry used to be jobs galore for the locals. Sadly, they’ve pretty much dried up now. It’s something affecting all the industries here, as the Department of Labor reported unemployment has been at a steady rate of 3.5-6% since 2023.

Indiana

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When you hear “Indiana,” what do you think of? It’s probably basketball and acres of corn. Unfortunately, the state is also becoming infamous for its economic challenges, which have left many residents longing for more. There’s been a huge decline in manufacturing jobs as well, creating a clear employment gap.

Texas

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Down in Texas, they say everything’s bigger, and lately, that includes the list of things people are unhappy with. If it’s not the burning heat, it’s the crowded highways that are testing everyone’s limits. Then there’s the growing gap between the haves and the have-nots. It’s causing major issues for anyone trying to keep up with the cost of living.

Oregon

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Oregon’s natural beauty will take your breath away and sadly, the cost of living will probably do the same. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center reported that it’s already one of the most expensive states in the USA. You might not realize that as driving through the city, you’ll see plenty of temporary shelters on blocks and in state parks.

Ohio

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There’s no denying that Ohio is the heartland. Unfortunately, the crime stats and job scene tell a very different story. The people have been waiting for economic improvement that doesn’t seem to be coming their way. It’s not because they’re not trying, as Ohioans have a lot of hardworking spirit, but they’ve been waiting around for a bit too long.

Wyoming

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Looking for cowboy country? Then head on over to Wyoming for a real taste of some. But if you’re looking for a job that’s not just hard hats, you might want to skip town because that’s all you’ll find here. It’s quite normal to live pretty far from other people in this state, so it’s no wonder people are so unhappy.

Missouri

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The Show-Me-State isn’t doing so well on the “show me” front anymore. It’s mostly because its wellness and support services have taken a complete nosedive, and even the sweet melodies of the jazz clubs aren’t enough to make the storefronts open up. If that wasn’t bad enough, getting a job in this state is practically impossible.

Montana

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Montana is the place to go to check out some amazing wildlife, like the bison and bighorn sheep. And let’s not get started on its open skies. But this beauty also has a downside, and that’s the isolation that’s taking a toll on people’s mental health. Oh, and if you’re looking for some well-paying work? Good luck.

Michigan

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It’s easy to see why people love coming to Michigan so much, especially when you visit places like the Great Lakes. But you’ll soon realize that it’s missing some of the things that made it so great before. Many of the state’s iconic car factories have closed down, which has caused job losses and unhappiness on a scale the state’s never seen before.

Nevada

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Beyond the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada is dealing with the realities of depending so much on tourism. Ten years ago, this wasn’t a problem. Fast-forward to now, and the pandemic showed just how unstable the economy could be. It’s still causing issues, according to KTNV, leaving many people unhappy about the current job market.

Colorado

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Like in lots of other states, people in Colorado are really starting to feel the pinch of soaring living costs, and even trying to buy a house has become more difficult than it needs to be. Also, traveling by car to work has practically become a form of torture because of the traffic. The great outdoors? We’re not so sure about that anymore.

Maine

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Every winter, Maine’s economy takes a hit when the number of tourists suddenly drops, leaving businesses struggling. Locals end up spending their days shoveling snow and knitting their winter way. Honestly, we’d feel pretty miserable if we were stuck doing that, too, so it’s no surprise they’re so unhappy.

Rhode Island

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Rhode Island is proof that not all good things come in small packages. We admit the state’s pretty enough to set it as your screensaver, but that’s not gonna pay the bills or put food on the table. On the political side, the conflict between parties has got everyone feeling a little more tense than usual.

Vermont

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In Vermont, even the job market acts laid-back. Unfortunately, it’s this issue that’s led to many young people ditching their skis for something a little more profitable in another state. Media reports suggest the biggest problem is the lack of housing, with over 23,000 leaving the state between 2021 and 2022.

Arizona

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Who doesn’t love a little bit of sun? Arizona is the state where you’ll never have to worry about rain. Yes, this constant heat might be nice at first, but it’s been causing some major problems for the locals because people are snatching up affordable houses whenever they can. It’s turned the state’s real estate market into a battle for cool spots. 

North Carolina

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North Carolina is well on its way to becoming Silicon Valley’s greatest rival. That might sound like a good thing, but lots of the locals are unhappy about the rising number of tech parks instead of, you know, real parks. Finding a clear path through the major cities is difficult enough. Add in all those new businesses, and you’ve got a problem on a much bigger scale. 

Pennsylvania

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Pennsylvania has a pretty great industrial past, but sadly, memory alone doesn’t pay the bills. To try and fight these issues, the state is moving towards more chic designs to attract new talent. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly been a winning suggestion for most of the locals. You’d be unhappy living here, too.

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